I can’t recall exactly the first time my father used the slipper on my bottom, but I do recall as if it was yesterday the routine of such punishments.
One such occasion was prior to my parent’s divorce. I was playing a board game with two of my sisters and was losing. There were petty squabbles as we played, with me calling my sisters names and being generally unkind, as well as some cheating on my behalf too.
Both Mum and Dad warned us – particularly me – to ‘play nicely’ but we continued to squabble as I continued to lose. Then, one of my sisters threw a perfect roll of the dice, landed on me and sent my piece back to its base. I saw red, accused her of cheating and tipped the contents of the board on to the floor.
As I did so, the room went deathly silent – and as I looked up, I saw Mum and Dad both standing in the doorway. All three of us children knew we would be in trouble. I tried to cover my tracks by claiming I had slipped, but my lie was called out by Mum, who had seen perfectly what I had done.
I scrabbled about, trying to pick up the game pieces, as Mum grabbed both girls and marched them to the settee. Both protested their innocence in the matter, but mum told them firmly: “You were told to play nicely. Now, because you didn’t, you’re going to pay for that!”
Each girl was quickly hauled across Mother’s knee. Their skirt was turned up and four hard smacks applied to the seat of their knickers. The slaps echoed around the room, followed by howls of pain from the girl in question. After they had both been spanked, my sisters were unceremoniously plopped on to the settee.
Dad continued to look on as I packed all the pieces back into the box, hoping that my sudden change in attitude would save me from what I knew was inevitably going to come. While I did so, the girls sobbed quietly as they sat on their newly-smacked bums.
As I put the game box back on to the table, Dad stepped forward and held me firmly by my arm.
“Young man, you have been warned about this all before – about your silliness, about your bullying, about your cheating and about your lying. Now, you are partly responsible for getting your sisters’ bottoms smacked, when you should be setting them an example as their elder brother.
“As I have told you before, there is an easy way to learn, and there is a hard way. Clearly, you have chosen the latter…” This was all standard ‘Dad material’ – and I knew full well what was coming next…
“Go and get a bath. Be back down here in 30 minutes, and make sure you’re ready for bed.” I felt his grip on my arm release, which was my signal to move. As I left, I snatched a look at my sisters. They had that smile on their faces; the smile of a child who knows their sibling is in deep trouble.
This was always dad’s routine when punishing me. He told me later in life that it was his ‘thinking time’ and my ‘reflection’ time’. I daresay the warm water helped soften my bottom up too! That said, 30 minutes is not a long time to get a bath and get dressed ready for bed. I was already wishing I had behaved myself.
I ran a shallow bath, warm enough to get straight in and wash, get out, dried myself and went to my room, where I pulled out my pyjamas and slipped them on. I remember feeling the coolness of the material against my skin – especially my bottom, which I knew all too well would soon be somewhat warmer. I still had five minutes or so to spare and waited on my bed, vainly trying to delay my appointment with doom.
Easing my dressing gown on, I then took the long journey down the stairs to the living room, my sisters were still sat on the settee with Mum. Their eyes were still slightly red from their post-smacking tears, but their faces looked slightly happier!
My dad ready for me, the slipper in his hand, looking at me directly with no sign of emotion or hint of leniency. He repeated that ‘I had chosen the hard way’. Then he said: “Before I give you your first punishment, I want you to apologise to the girls for the trouble you got them into.”
My brain whirred – first punishment? It had always been just ‘punishment’! I stumbled out an apology, hoping it was convincing enough. After that, the usual instruction came: “Turn around and touch your toes.”
I obeyed, without question, my heart beating fast and tears already welling up in my eyes. My dressing gown was lifted up and then I felt the slipper touch my bottom through the seat of my pyjamas. Three hard whacks were applied in quick succession. Pain shot through my buttocks – I yelled and howled out an apology. I tried to stand up but Dad placed his hand firmly on my back and I bent down again obediently.
The moment I was back in position, Dad brought the fourth stroke down on the centre of my bottom. I let out a loud gasp and sobbed, as two more strokes were applied on my left and right buttocks for a full ‘six of the best’.
I felt Dad’s hand leave my back, which I knew was the signal that I might stand. I did so, tears rolling down my face and blubbering out another apology as as my dressing gown fell back over my now very sore bottom.
Normally at this point, I would be dispatched to my room with a final warning ringing in my ears as to my future behaviour. This time, however, Dad pointed to the wall in front of the settee and told me to stand facing it while I thought about why I shouldn’t tell lies.
Meanwhile, my sisters were told to go and get ready for bed – and to be back down in the lounge in ‘double quick time’. As they scurried off, my head was racing, my bottom throbbing with pain and my face was soaked in tears.
The girls reappeared in their night clothes about 10 minutes later. Mum handed each of them a jam sandwich, which they ate quietly as I just stood there waiting, shifting slightly from foot to foot.
Once the girls had finished their supper and Mum had collected their plates, Dad told me to turn around. Then he addressed all three of us. “You have all been punished for squabbling and misbehaving. However, your brother has compounded this by bullying, cheating and lying. This won’t be tolerated under any circumstances!”
I made as if to speak, but Dad took the words out of my mouth. “It’s no good you telling me you won’t do it again. The fact is, young man, you have done it already despite many other warnings.”
He turned to my sisters. “I want you girls to pay close attention to what happens in this house when you tell a lie. As for you, young man, you had better learn your lesson from this unless you want a repeat dose.”
Dad nodded to Mum, as if at a pre-arranged signal, and she ushered the girls out of the room, closing the door behind here. Then Dad turned back to me. “Take off your dressing gown, remove your pyjama bottoms, turn around and touch your toes again.”
I froze – although Mum and Dad were strict, I had never been slippered on the bare bottom before, and I was now 11 years old and very embarrassed even for my own father to see my private areas. But any thought of disobeying was swept aside as Dad firmly told me: “Now – unless you want to make this worse for yourself.”
I removed my dressing gown and laid it over the arm of the chair, then turned my back to him and eased my pyjama bottoms down. I glanced back at my father briefly over my should, silently pleading not to be done bare bottom, only to be met with a look of steely determination. Taking as much time as I dared, I removed my pyjama trousers and placed them on the same pile as my gown. I felt an immediate coolness around my bottom which heightened my sense of vulnerability, made even worse as I stretched downwards, bringing my fingers towards my toes.
The next few minutes were the longest and most painful of my life up until that point. Three times, my father repeated my crimes and delivered two stinging strokes of the slipper to my bare bottom.
“I will not tolerate bullying!” Whack, whack! Left cheek, right cheek. Immediate pain, and lots more more tears. “I will not tolerate cheats!” Whack, whack! Left cheek, right cheek. Almost involuntarily, I tried to stand up but Dad barked: “Bend back over – now!”
Again, I did as I was instructed. “Remember, young man, your brought this on yourself. You chose the hard way – let’s hope you learn.” Once again, I felt the sole of the slipper against my bare bum.
“Most of all, I will not tolerate lying!” Whack, whack! These last two strokes were by far the firmest of them all, as if to drive the message home. Suffice it to say that my bottom and I received it loud and clear. Finally, Dad tapped my shoulder, indicating that I might stand up. I drew myself up slowly and looked at him with tears in my eyes. I said I was sorry – very sorry.
After I had put my clothes back on, I was told to go to my room and think about how I would improve my behaviour. Part of me wanted to protest – it was early afternoon on a Saturday and I would miss my favourite TV programmes. However, my bottom had never felt so sore, I had never felt so sorry, or committed in my mind to behave better, and I decided to just exactly as I was told
As I navigated passed my sisters, they gave me a slightly sympathetic look. I learned later that they had listened to every stroke being delivered on my bare bottom – but they also felt sorry for me…
After I had been in bed for a while, my newly smacked bottom still buzzing, Mum brought me my own jam sandwich. She sat with me as I ate, and in that moment I felt whole again and cared for.
Little did any of us know that it would be my last slippering from dad for two years – not because I had become some saint, but because of my parents’ bitter divorce battle.